Members of Ganjam district unit of fishermen’s organisation Odisha Matsyajibi Mahasabha (OMS) held demonstration at Chatrapur on Wednesday alleging that the compensation declared for them after devastating Phailin would be insufficient for the restoration of their livelihood means.

Around 1,000 fishermen took part in this demonstration. They took out a rally at Chatrapur and staged a dharna in front of the office of the district Collector. Adviser of the OMS, Jagannath Mishra took lead of the demonstrators. Leaders of peasants’ organisation Odisha Krushak Sabha Kailash Sadangi and former Zilla Parishad member Harekrushna Reddy took part in this demonstration to express their solidarity to fisherman. The demonstrators submitted a memorandum with 14 demands. Representatives of the OMS held discussions with the district emergency officer, marine fisheries officer and district fisheries officer regarding these demands.

Fishermen activists K. Gariga, E.Gureya, Satrughna Behera were of the opinion that after the Phailin cyclone their livelihood has got affected drastically. Their income has dwindled as they do not have proper means to catch fish. The Phailin cyclone in October last year has damaged most of their traditional boats and nets. They are yet to get them replaced.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr Mishra said the greatest problem that is being faced by these fishermen is that despite the fact that compensation has been declared for the cyclone devastated fishermen, yet the amount is too less to restore the losses of boats and nets. According to him the compensation as per the norms of the National Disaster Response Fund would be too less for replacement of damaged boats and nets, he said. “So, we are demanding the Phailin devastated fishermen to be provided new boats and nets. Otherwise each cyclone affected fisherman family may be given a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh,” Mr Mishra said.

During discussion with the authorities, it was pointed out to leaders of OMM that government was ready to provide new boats and nets at 50 per cent subsidised rate. But the OMM activists said the fishermen were not in a position to invest even the 50 per cent amount needed for the purpose.